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Monday, June 18, 2012

Top Prospect Oswaldo Arcia Promoted to New Britain

New Rock Cats outfielder Oswaldo Arcia
It was announced this morning that Oswaldo Arcia, an outfielder in the Twins organization, has been promoted from the Ft. Myers miracle to the Rock Cats. I haven't written too much about Arcia, mainly because I haven't seen him play at all in person, but he is generally considered a top 5 prospect in the Twins system -- a player to be excited about. Here's something else to be excited about: he just turned 21 this May, making him almost a year-and-a-half younger than Aaron Hicks, who will turn 23 in October -- an age that is generally regarded as young from AA level baseball. As I mentioned earlier today, the Rock Cats could use some more offense, and Arcia might be just what they need.

The Twins signed Arcia, a native of Venezuela, in 2008, and he has quickly accelerated through the minor league system. He was batting .352/.420/.704 in Low-A Beloit last season before being promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle mid-season. In 2 months of action this season in Ft. Myers, Arcia's batting line was .309/.376/.517. In 207 at-bats for the Miracle, he had 7 home runs, 3 triples and 16 doubles, as well as 31 RBIs. Taking a look back, in 2011, after his mid-season promotion to Ft. Myers, he logged an almost identical number of at-bats -- 213, to be precise. In that partial season, his slash line was .263/.300/.460, with 8 home runs, 2 triples, 14 doubles and 32 RBIs. It was nice to see the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all increase in 2012.

I think some interesting things are going to happen in New Britain over the coming weeks. There is a glut of outfielders (or guys that can play in the outfield) in New Britain. There's Hicks, who is still considered a top prospect but has not exceeded expectations this season; there's Rene Tosoni, who has major league experience but isn't playing very well down here; there's Joe Benson, recovering from wrist surgery and needing to find his swing again; there's Evan Bigley, who is 25 and in his second full (third partial) season with New Britain, and has not put up numbers to justify a AAA call-up; and there's Mark Dolenc, 27 and struggling through his third full AA season. Even Nathan Hanson -- swinging a great bat lately -- has played 6 games in left field this season.

There are just too many outfielders on this team to give everyone playing time, especially considering that Hicks, Arcia and Benson are all considered "top level" Twins prospects that will command playing time -- and I might add Chris Herrmann into this conversation because he has to be added to the 40 man roster after this season and has shown himself capable of playing left field on days when he is not catching. In other words, there are too many outfielders for the number of available positions and innings. Arcia has played right field exclusively this season at Ft. Myers. Hicks and Benson are pure center fielders. So, when healthy, the 3 can co-exist in the same outfield (it just means that one of Hicks or Benson would have to play left field). But it seems inevitable that at least one other outfielder will have to be demoted, and this isn't even factoring in other additions that may be made to the Rock Cats roster (including today's addition of former St. Paul Saints pitcher Daniel Sattler to the New Britain roster).

Congratulations to Oswaldo Arcia, and we look forward to seeing you in action soon!

[UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this article, I was informed that Mark Dolenc was released by the Twins. This partially solves some of the playing time issues, and is also tough news for Dolenc, who I have heard is nothing but a professional and an extremely nice guy. I hope he catches on somewhere else.]

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